Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has blamed land grabbers for causing the fire that razed down part of Nairobi’s Toi Market in Kibera early on Tuesday morning. The fire broke at around 3 am and destroyed property worth millions of shillings, spreading fast and even gutting some houses in the slums. In the morning hours, firefighters were still battling the fire, and traders, most of whom live in Kibera, were trying to salvage what they can, although the damage is still huge.
Speaking at the scene, Raila said the market has helped many Kenyans to conduct their business and spoke on the issue of the landgrabbers, “There are those landgrabbers, when they see a piece of land somewhere they come in and grab it…am sure they are the ones who have hatched this plan to burn the market then tomorrow they will come with cops here, to set up construction plans,” he said, amidst cheers from the residents and traders.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko pledged to give Kshs 5 million to cater for the reconstruction of the market. The Governor acknowledged that there are land grabbers in Nairobi, and said he won’t be issuing title deeds to those who are corrupt, “We see they’ve already prepared title deeds, and am supposed to hand them out together with the President, we won’t give titles to thieves…we’ve seen there are already more than 10,000 title deeds which have been made through corrupt people,” he said. He added that the pending title deeds to be issued to Nairobi residents should be reinspected to make sure pieces of land belonging to markets like Toi market aren’t given to land grabbers. Toi market is famed for its range of second-hand clothes and artefacts and has more than 5,000 small scale traders. The cause of the fire is still unknown.